On Saturday, December 19, 1998, President William Jefferson Clinton became
only the second President in American history to be impeached. Charged by a
majority of the House with the crimes of perjury before a grand jury and the
abuse of power, the impeachment vote was lambasted as completely partisan
and therefore meaningless, having no moral authority.
Truly, the vote was almost totally partisan; only a handful of Democrats
voted for the impeachment of the President; and only a handful of Republicans voted
against it. But does the impeachment vote mean less because it was partisan? Or
is there, perhaps, a more important reason-a hidden message-underlying this
clear division among party lines?
Despite the harsh and demeaning Democratic rhetoric against the impeachment
vote, it must not be categorized as only another “partisan” political
vote. Instead, it should be considered as being another vote in a long ongoing
series of Congressional votes on moral issues. After all, lying under oath, and
engaging in illicit sexual relations with a subordinate in the workplace, are
indisputably moral concerns.
When the impeachment vote is examined as a moral vote rather than a vote of
politics, it is not surprising that it should be partisan. After all, on nearly
all Congressional votes on traditional moral issues in recent years, the
dividing line has been almost completely partisan.
For example, on the moral issue of protecting innocent human life, it is the
Democrats who have caused the continuation of partial-birth abortions and
protected and defended this reprehensible moral misbehavior. (Eighty-two
percent of Senate Democrats voted to allow partial-birth abortions while only
eleven percent of Republicans did so.)
Similarly, votes on the moral issue of sodomy, like the impeachment vote,
are usually decided along partisan lines. It is the Democrats who consistently
vote for the protection of the homosexuals’ “lifestyle,” seek to
reward their sexual misconduct with special benefits, and pursue the extension
of this behavior throughout society. (For example, eighty-seven percent of
Senate Democrats voted to increase protection for the homosexual lifestyle 1
while only seventeen percent of Republicans did so.)
And on the issue of voluntary school prayer and the public acknowledgment of
God, the dividing lines are almost completely partisan-as evidenced by the vote
in Congress on the school prayer amendment. (Eighty-seven percent of House
Democrats opposed voluntary school prayer while only twelve percent of
Republicans did so.)
Similar partisan distinctions could be shown with almost every other moral
issue, whether it be preserving parental rights or teaching pre-marital
abstinence to young people. Clearly, the Democrats in Congress generally oppose
traditional moral values and only rarely demonstrate any desire to hold
individuals accountable for violating established mores. Therefore, when the
vote on impeachment is considered as just another vote on a moral issue, the
partisan results become completely predictable.
There truly is a difference between Congressional Republicans and Democrats,
and nowhere is this difference more evident than on traditional moral values.
The Democrats’ cry of “partisanship” is simply a smokescreen to
divert attention from the lack of a moral compass that permeates their Party.
However, in the wake of the impeachment vote, the Democrats are finally
clamoring for something that America actually does need: bi-partisanship.
America does need two parties standing up for what is morally right-America
does need two parties demanding accountability for the acts of all individuals
regardless of their social position-America does need two parties seeking to
preserve the moral foundations of the nation. Up to now, the only thing
preventing this bi-partisanship is the Democrats.
The current partisanship exists only because the overwhelming majority of
Democrats demand on the defense of what is morally indefensible and refuse to
join with the overwhelming majority of Republicans who continue to defend what
is morally right. It is time for Democrats to heed their own call and become
bi-partisan, joining with the Republicans in defending America’s great moral
December 21, 1998
1 The vote was recorded on ENDA-the Employment Non-Discrimination
Act- which extended special protections and special status for homosexuals.